Beedie students reach entrepreneurship award finals

Dec 12, 2016


Two Beedie School of Business students reached the final three in the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) Regional Competition in Vancouver.

The GSEA selection committee shortlisted three finalists from over 40 applicants to present to a panel of experienced entrepreneurs and investors at the awards event, which took place on November 24, 2016. Two of the three invited to present in this final round were Beedie students: William Brenner and Ben Hwang.

William Brenner makes his presentation (Photograph: Mark Kinskofer, Vision Event Photography)

William Brenner makes his presentation (Photograph: Mark Kinskofer, Vision Event Photography)

Brenner and Hwang are both enrolled in the Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU program, where mechatronic systems engineering students team up with business students during their final two years at SFU. The program prepares its students with hands-on training, enabling them to successfully develop their ideas into marketable products. Both students are also taking part in the newly launched team venture co-op, offered in partnership with SFU’s early stage incubator, Venture Connection.

Brenner’s company, Orello Hearing Technologies Inc., has created a hearing aid that will be sold online for a fraction of the cost most hearing clinics charge, making it more affordable and accessible to hearing impaired people. Demand for hearing assistance technology is drastically under-served globally, and the team hopes to use revenues from N. American sales to support distribution to developing nations. The judges awarded Brenner second place overall in the competition.

“Being chosen to present our ideas to the panel at the Entrepreneur Awards was a real validation of our business plan and the work we have done in growing the company,” says Brenner. “It gave us the opportunity to put into practice many of the new skills we have developed through the Technology Entrepreneurship program, which has prepared us for exactly this type of environment.”

Hwang is part of the team behind Vamo Tech, which is developing wearable technology to track hockey players’ shots in training and provide analytics to help them improve. The company was awarded third place at the Vancouver event.

“Taking part in these awards, and progressing to the final round, has been a fantastic experience,” says Hwang. “The panel was made up of successful entrepreneurs and investors, and we made some great contacts and heard inspiring stories, as well as honing our presentation skills.”

The EO GSEA is the premier global competition for student entrepreneurs who actively run a business, each year attracting over 1,700 competitors from more than 50 countries. Applicants must run businesses that have operated for at least six months and generated revenues of $500 to qualify. Winners of Regional Competitions progress to national events, where they compete to represent their country in the global competition.